Go Global, Local or Glocal?

National and global brands are faced with two potentially equally appealing options when it comes to managing their brand presence across social channels: have one global presence or create movements at the local level with brand platforms customized by locale.

There really isn’t necessarily a right answer, but there are certainly considerations.

Challenges with an Expanding Social Presence

Brands in the social space are forced to contend with multiple networks, profiles, languages and cultures, even if their presence is only limited to the national level.

One potential solution is establishing a single, unified brand presence across social channels. This helps to keep communication consistent, the team efficient and the look, tone and feel on-brand. However, social media’s greatest opportunity lies in its ability to engage people on their terms and turf online. One unified presence trying to connect with everyone will feel generic at best as the brand is forced to appeal to the lowest common denominator when it comes to communication.

The other option is equally as appealing and imperfect. Brands can mobilize multiple teams to manage their social presence at the local level. This brings the benefit of being able to connect with people on a deeper level while providing more relevant content, leading to higher levels of engagement. The challenge is having different teams, operating independently and potentially fragmenting the brands’ overall social presence.

Go Glocal

The ideal route if a brand can pull it off is a hybrid approach with a single, centralized global team coordinating overarching brand goals, objectives and guidelines, while making local teams responsible for contextualizing content, executing local campaigns and addressing the community.

In order to execute this effectively, among other things brands need:

  1. A Style Guide: Create a framework to ensure all teams are able to be flexible with their social media efforts while remaining consistent on tone and message.
  2. Profile Consistency: All brand profiles should have the same consistent look and feel and be connected with each other to improve profile SEO. Local teams should have the freedom to customize certain elements based on geography and audience. An overarching social media strategy and voice is needed to act as the filter through which all teams can operate freely while staying on-brand.
  3. Workflow/Roles/Responsibilities: Establish a workflow with roles, responsibilities and protocols laid out.
  4. Local Freedom to Explore Opportunities: Use local teams to your advantage by asking them to identify social media opportunities at the ground level.

Different platforms require different levels of detail and effort. Facebook, in particular, makes a glocal approach fairly straightforward. Brands can target posts by geography, and the recently launched global pages allow brands to create a centralized global Facebook Page that displays differently depending on which country a user is viewing the page from.

Evaluate your current approach. Is a single presence connecting at the local level like it should? Do you have the necessary framework to execute at the local level? It’s not easy, but moving toward a glocal approach provides a big opportunity for both national and global brands.